Summer feels like it’s on the way out already – boo hiss – but I’m not quite ready to break out the winter warmers yet so here’s a dish from Hubby that’s perfect for inbetween the seasons and, in a very rare departure for me, carb-less.  Left to my own devices I’d happily stockpile rice or pasta for every dinner, but this dish does that magical thing of making the missing carbs unmissed!  It is, quite honestly, the only meal with no carbs that I actually look forward to as opposed to the usual pouting.
So what’s to love about it?  The saltiness of the Teriyaki is perfectly tempered by cool crisp lettuce, with additional crunch and texture brought to you by water chestnuts and toasted cashews.  It also reminds me a little (a lot!) of something we used to order at a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong (that was confusingly!) called the American Restaurant.  Then again, as its the American in our house who cooks all the Asian food and not the half Chinese, maybe it wasn’t such a daft name after all…
We like to use turkey mince for this (thigh or breast are both good), it’s super lean and lets us feel smug for one meal for eating well, but it works just as well with pork or beef mince 🙂
Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Cups
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Stuff you'll need...
  1. 500g turkey mince
  2. 2-3 cloves garlic
  3. Spring onions
  4. Can of water chestnuts
  5. 100g unsalted cashew nuts
  6. 250ml bottle Teriyaki Sauce
  7. 1/4 cup (60ml) Shaoxing Wine (or Dry Sherry)
  8. Good glug Ketjup Manis (or Dark Soy) to taste
  9. 1 tsp sugar to taste
  10. 2 tsp corn starch
  11. white pepper
  12. Vegetable oil for cooking
  13. Little gem, iceberg or cos lettuce
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 200C and roasting the cashew nuts - spread the nuts out on a baking tray and pop in the oven for about 8 minutes.
  2. While the nuts are roasting, rinse the spring onions before topping and tailing, and then chop (or snip with scissors) all the way down, separating green parts to one side and white parts to another
  3. Tip the mince into a medium sized mixing bowl, or any bowl of an equivalent size that will give you enough room to mix everything up. Toss in a handful of the white bits of spring onion, add the minced garlic, 2 tbsp Terriyaki sauce, sprinkle over 1 tsp sugar and then 1 tsp corn starch. Season with white pepper before mixing thoroughly. Leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
  4. While the mince is marinading, drain and rinse the water chestnuts. Roughly chop and then stir into marinading meat mixture.
  5. Also while the mince is marinading, take the roasted cashew nuts and crush roughly. Hubby likes to pop them in a freezer bag before taking a rolling pin to them - it's mess-less and very theraputic apparently!
  6. Place a wok over a medium flame and add 2 tsp vegetable oil. When the oil is heated add the marinaded meat and give it a good toss around the wok before leaving it to cook through - this should take a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the crushed cashew nuts to the wok and tossing everything around again before turning the heat up to high.
  8. Add the shaoxing/sherry and ketjup manis/soy and cook for about five minutes, or until the meat is browned through.
  9. While the meat is finishing cooking, separate the lettuce leaves and then wash and drain them - or give them a good shake - and then pile them up on a plate.
  10. When the meat is browned and looks ready, add another 100ml (1/3rd cup) terriyaki and then taste and season or add more sugar if required. Cook for a further five minutes, until most of the cooking liquid has absorbed.
  11. If you still need to thicken the sauce then add 1 tsp corn starch to 3 tsp water and mix into a paste before adding to the meat and stirring through. Keep it on a high heat for about a minute to thicken.
  12. Plate up the mince and scatter the green bits of spring onion over it just before serving with the lettuce leaves.
  1. That rarest of things, a carb-less dish that I actually look forward to!